Op-Ed Claims NRA Not Welcome In Texas

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Texas is known as a gun-loving state. While their reputation for Second Amendment support often outstripped their actual commitment in the past, those days look to be over. Gun rights support is wide open and the gun laws are minimal, to say the least.

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And the state has played host to the NRA Annual Meeting this year. It's not the first year it's been there, nor will it be the last.

While Texas is a big state, it's not monolithic. I'm not stupid enough to think that everyone in the state is a fan of the NRA, but based on how they've voted year after year, I'm going to guess most are close enough to supporters so that it doesn't matter.

But one op-ed writer--one who, admittedly, lives in Texas and should know the reality on the ground--not just isn't a fan, he's saying the NRA isn't welcome at all.

This week, the National Rifle Association will, once again, host its convention in Texas and, once again, attempt to overstate its influence. After years of being crippled by corruption—drowning in multiple lawsuits, losing millions of members, and forcing out its scandal-ridden CEO Wayne LaPierre—the NRA comes limping back to the Lone Star State to lick its wounds.

As a veteran, fifth generation Texan, and GIFFORDS Gun Owner for Safety, I'm telling the NRA that they're not welcome here.

Oh, a "GIFFORDS Gun Owner for Safety."

So...a gun control advocate who claims to also own guns. They exist, to be sure, but they're the minority of gun owners. Yet groups like Giffords love to trot them out as proof that there's some massive groundswell of gun owners who want their rights infringed upon.

What's more, while I get this op-ed is running in Austin, where you're more likely to find support for gun control than anywhere else in the state, it's pretty arrogant to think you can actually speak for your entire state when it's clear most people vote in ways that suggest they disagree with you.

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That's a fact he should be aware of since he ran for state senate back in 2018 and was curb-stomped by voters, who overwhelmingly chose his opponent. 

In Texas, we don't hide from the truth. And the truth is that the NRA has long-ago hijacked gun culture, and its convention does nothing but showcase the gun industry’s billion-dollar marketing campaigns that peddle paranoia and irresponsible fantasies. 

Oh, shut up.

First, he touts the "corruption" at the NRA and fails to acknowledge that the organization was the victim of said corruption, at least as the court saw it, so I'm going to guess he does pretty good at hiding from the truth.

Especially since he's affiliated with Giffords, an organization named after a woman who literally said "No more guns."

Yeah, he hides from the truth plenty.

But the author doesn't end there, obviously. It gets worse.

I know responsible gun ownership. Like many Texans, I grew up around firearms. When I served as a commander of an Army Reserve small arms training company, the safe handling and storage of firearms was my job. 

Putting the safety of our fellow service members and our communities above our own lives was a core value in the military. The NRA spits on that value by pushing a purely selfish message of the individual above all else: “rights'' with no regard to responsibilities. It’s offensive to those of us who actually have protected Americans and defended our freedoms.

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As a veteran myself, I'm not only not offended by the NRA's "message of the individual above all else," I support it. The Founding Fathers were clear that the rights of the individual had to be preserved above the authority of the state. Without that, tyranny was inevitable.

That's what the Constitution I swore to support and defend was about. That's not my hope, either, but based on not just the text of the Constitution itself but also the Founding Fathers' own writings on the subject.

Frankly, I'm more offended that a veteran--an officer, at that--doesn't seem to comprehend that.

The upside here is that the author, Steven Kling, is spouting nonsense that will have absolutely no bearing on anything. The NRA Annual Meeting will still take place. Dallas will appreciate the boost to its economy from it. The right to keep and bear arms will remain an individual right and Kling will have more practice to learn to deal with disappointment.


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